We are greatly helped by the Ilkley Parish Church Registers which date from 1597.

Joseph Watkinson was the son of Henry Watkinson. Henry moved to Ilkley from South Yorkshire. In 1596 he was made Constable of Ilkley and was a Leather Stamper. He died in 1610, a year after his wife Jane's death in February 13th, 1609. They had five children.

Joseph, aged 9 with his brothers Henry (15), Edward (13) and sister Alice (6) were left orphans. Sister Judith had died in 1606 aged 7 years.

Joseph married Mary Binns. He rented lands from William Middleton and Sedbergh School. He was made churchwarden in 1629, 1642 and 1652. His older brother Henry, a merchant lived in Kirkgate, Leeds. He married Bridget and had two distinguished sons, Henry and Christopher. Edward, a bachelor, became rector of Scruton,near Ripon..

Joseph and Mary had 3 children. a) Henery, died aged 17, 1648. b) Elizabeth married Godfrey Lawson of Leeds, Mayor of Leeds in 1669. Their son Watkinson Lawson died in 1671 aged 9 years and has a separate brass. Their daughter married Ralph Lowther of Ackworth Park. c) Mary married Wilfred Lawson of Wakefield. They had four children. Three are remembered on the brass, Mary who died in 1662, Wilfred and Edward both died in 1671. Elizabeth married Richard Witton of Wakefield in Ilkley in 1681. Godfrey Lawson and Wilfred Lawson witnessed their fathers-in-laws Will.

Imagine Joseph Watkinson sitting in his pew, dated 1633, with his wife Mary and daughters Elizabeth and Mary, perhaps with little Henery,aged two. His Will included "To the poor of Ilkley Parish 30s a year for ever." He died in 1669,the year his son-in-law became Mayor of Leeds.